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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704

Stop Animal Fighting

Cops: Man bred pit bulls for fighting

March 23, 2005

A Freeport man charged with illegally breeding and training pit bulls at his home had taught some of his dogs to battle pigs in a fighting ring, cops said.

Cops discovered four badly scarred pit bulls in Kwame Winston's garage Monday, along with two Neopolitan bullmastiffs in the basement of the man's Miller Ave. home.

The bullmastiffs - also called war dogs - were bred especially to fight pigs, Nassau Police Detective Sgt. Roy Gorddard said.

"The dog is supposed to pin the hog down while the handler comes and ties up the hog," he said. "People bet on this."

Winston, 29, was arraigned yesterday on felony charges that he illegally bred and trained dogs for sale as fighting dogs.

He was being held on $250,000 bail following his hearing in 1st District Court in Hempstead.

Gorddard said the investigation began after a member of a local animal rights group, I-SPEAK, discovered a Web site in which Winston advertised selling the dogs.

Posing as a customer, the activist arranged to meet Winston at his home in early March and pretended to be interested in buying one of the dogs for Winston's $2,500 asking price, police said.

At the time, the informant observed as many as 15 dogs at Winston's home, Gorddard said.

After alerting cops, the activist agreed to be wired with microphones and return to the house on Monday to record his discussions with Winston, the detective said.

In addition to the six dogs police seized, investigators also said they found vaccines and training sleeves.

The pit bulls and mastiffs were taken to the Hempstead Animal Shelter where an animal behaviorist will evaluate the canines to determine "if they can be socialized and adopted," Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said.

She said the dogs, which range in age from four months to three years, had markings that indicated they had been used in fights.

"They had bites on their faces, swollen eyes, broken teeth, deformed legs, welts on their ankles and noses, and, in one case, an eye almost gouged out," she said.

She said that many appeared underfed and malnourished.

Police also alleged that Winston, who has a long rap sheet, "cruelly" housed the dogs in inadequate small cages.

Murray said Hempstead town law bans residents from keeping more than three dogs in a home in a noncommercial area.

Originally published on March 23, 2005

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